The North-South All-Star volleyball rosters are set, and highlighting the field locally is Española Valley High School’s Chloe Fell and Pojoaque Valley High School’s Alyssa Rodriguez.
The two former rivals will pair up to compete for the Northeast Large-School team for the event taking place June 7-8 at Albuquerque’s Valley High School.
The team will be coached by Joanne Romero, a 2000 New Mexico High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor inductee. Romero taught and coached in the Belen Consolidated School District at Belen High School for 26 years, beginning in 1971.
Fell helped lead Española this past season with 216 kills in 75 sets played, second on the team behind junior Dulce Maldonado (318). The Lady Sundevils reached the Class 4A state tournament, losing in the first round 3-0 against Santa Teresa High School.
She recorded her most kills in her sophomore season with 251 and was a four-year varsity player.
As for Rodriguez, the Elkettes libero competed at the varsity level for four years as well, and was recognized as a District 2-4A First-Team selection this past season after leading the district in digs and serve attempts.
Statewide, Rodriguez was fifth in digs with 526 and 30th in aces with 55. When the numbers boil down to 4A, she was alone at the top in digs and seventh in aces.
She had the pleasure of playing under head coach and her father Joe Rodriguez for her senior season.
“Alyssa deserved the recognition because she always competed with class, put in the commitment and practice like she played,” Joe Rodriguez said. “Most importantly, she treated her teammates and opponents with respect. I’m proud as a coach and father because she is a great representative for the Pojoaque volleyball family and for her own family. She always has a smile when playing and volleyball has always been a place where Alyssa could excel, enjoy life and forget about the day-to-day issues.”
Alyssa Rodriguez herself credited her father’s influence and coaching tactics for the reason she became so successful as a player. He served as her eighth-grade coach and also worked as an assistant at Pojoaque before becoming the head coach this past season.
“My dad was the biggest influence because he has been a coach for a long time,” she said. “He would always make me go to his practices and go to open gym and put in that extra work to improve myself, even when there was doubts at times when I didn’t really feel that I was a great player.”
Pojoaque was as steady as anyone this past season in 4A, finishing with an 18-5 record before a 3-2 quarterfinal loss to Los Lunas High School in the state tournament. The season also included a 14-game winning streak and second place finishes in regular season district play and the district tournament championship behind Los Alamos High School.
“Getting the recognition to play (in the North-South) was really great to hear because I worked really hard this last season,” Alyssa Rodriguez said. “Considering that it was the last season, I wanted to end it on a good note and the fact that these coaches recognized that I worked and wanted me to play was a really big deal.”
One notable snub from Pojoaque was Adrianna Quintana, who was recognized by the New Mexico High School Coaches Association as a Second-Team All-State selection. Dulce High School, who was the state runner-up in Class 2A, qualified outside hitter Jaelynn Reval. Along with sophomore setter Jasmine Salazar and junior outside hitter Caitlin Duncan from the Lady Hawks, Reval was named to the Class 2-A All-State First-Team.